One of my favorite things about puzzles and games is the way they bring people together. It could be gathering around a table for a session of Dungeons & Dragons, enlisting a friend in unraveling a tricky crossword clue, or swapping jigsaws with a fellow enthusiast to share the wealth.
Recently, a story about Dungeons & Dragons went viral, but if you haven’t seen it, I’ll happily summarize.
A Twitter user named Antoine H. delivered his grandmother’s eulogy after her sad passing, but wasn’t able to devote the time he wanted to one important aspect of her life, so he took to Twitter later to do so.
At 75 years old, in the last year of her life, she started playing D&D at his suggestion.
Her first character? A male forest gnome named Terminatur (a combination of “termite” and “nature”).
She helped her fellow players cleanse a haunted house, then made it a home, including inventing a new fruit that became quite popular. (It led to membership in an interplanar ecology organization, The Circle of the Green Hand.)
She even gave the adventuring party its name: “les Bijoutiers Fantaisistes,” the Fanciful Jewelers.
Although her cancer treatment would limit her opportunities to play regularly, she still kept on with the campaign whenever possible, adding delightful new wrinkles to her character.
Her last words to him? “Never change, never lose your family spirit, and keep on playing Dungeons & Dragons.”
As a longtime D&D player, I love this story. Because, as much fun as it is to play the game, it’s the connections you forge DURING play that mean the most. In fact, my favorite roleplaying game memory isn’t from an actual play session.
It’s from a lazy afternoon hanging out with some of my players, just listening as they shared stories about their favorite moments from the game. (Since each of them had individual adventures, in addition to group adventures, they got to share stories the others hadn’t experienced.) Their reenactments were a pleasure to watch, knowing I had helped craft adventures that they enjoyed so much, they wanted to share them with others.
Getting to tell stories with my friends is an incredible gift, and I can only imagine how much joy it brought both Antoine and his grandmother to find this lovely, unexpected common ground.
You can (and should) click here to read the entire Twitter thread. It’s wonderful.
Also, please share your own stories of how games, puzzles, and RPGs have improved your life and friendships. I’d love to hear them.
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